Me First! - Image of woman with arms in the air and confetti falling

Humans have a natural inclination to want to be first for things.

Among many positive perks, it provides an enjoyable dose of serotonin – that happy neurochemical that gets activated when we feel capable and proud.

As a child, having ‘first pick’ as to whom will be on your team for a sport, or to be the fist to pick a cookie off a platter, or to be the person to make the decision during gym class as to what game everyone will play… all of these examples give you an incredible sense of pleasure and power.

As well, receiving the top grade in a class, getting the highest mark on a test, or winning the gold medal in a race are significant accomplishments many people dream of and strive for.  These types of ‘firsts’ are important, because they make the people feel so good.

Not to mention, certain ‘firsts’ can be powerful and memorable, like your ‘first kiss’, ‘first date’ and ‘first love.’

There are times, of course, that being first isn’t necessarily favourable. For example, if you don’t like to public speak and you are chosen as the first in a group to deliver your presentation, then that may be incredibly nerve wracking and something you’d rather avoid.

In some cases, it’s probably even better to not be first and instead to wait and see how things go. This is true especially when it comes to a new product or service that’s been introduced to the marketplace that could have potential kinks or adverse side effects which need to be learned about and corrected before delivering it to the masses.

While people in general seem to be naturally wired to strive for ‘firsts’, it’s very interesting and intriguing that there is a particular area in life where many people avoid it. Can you guess what I’m referring to?

It’s the realm of ‘Putting Yourself First.’

When it comes to knowing and acting upon what is important to oneself, such as values, beliefs, and needs, many people fall short. They either avoid, ignore, or simply do not understand these essential parts of themselves.

For some reason, these ‘inner-driven-firsts’ that begin and end with oneself seem to be a trickier area for a lot of people to prioritize, especially for women.

Personally, I think this is the most important type of ‘first’. Thus, it is a big part of what makes our Women’s Wellness Circles so essential and valuable.

In each gathering, women have the opportunity to prioritize themselves first. It is a precious time to become familiar with and to better understand their own needs and preferences, as they are temporarily away from the distractions of other daily life responsibilities. Simultaneously, women in Circle learn useful strategies to better honour, nurture and care for themselves.

My own life path is an ongoing journey of these very concepts! In fact, it’s the main reason why I started the first Women’s Wellness Circle seventeen years ago, which has since grown to multiple locations across Canada. Clearly, others have a need for this as well.

Of course, there really is no end to this learning curve, because as humans we are constantly growing and changing. This is why it’s so important that we have spaces and places where we feel welcomed and encouraged to tune into ourselves on a regular basis.

This is true especially when there are so many ways we can avoid investing into this crucial self-exploration. Here are some common culprits:

  • Keeping busy
  • Gossiping
  • Going from one relationship to the next
  • Overly focusing on the needs of others
  • Believing that we never have enough time

The great news is that once we take a break from the tendency to focus outwards first, and we begin to focus inwardly, we become better acquainted with the most important person in our lives… ourselves!

Then, when we return to our daily life activities, careers, and relationships, we are in better alignment.  We feel recharged, and we have more to give.

Plus, we can more clearly see reality and can know what needs more of our attention, what we need to let go of, what can be improved, and what we can simply accept as it is.

If there are unhealthy behaviours, incompatibility, or dysfunction, we can quickly and easily recognize it and attend to it, without staying stuck in denial, getting into messy dramas, or wasting our precious time.

Putting ourselves first, indeed saves us time and energy! It is certainly not selfish. Rather it’s self-loving, and others benefit, too.

In most cases our lives are not usually in a desperate situation. We simply need to be more present, and that can only happen when we feel nurtured, understood, and connected… with ourselves first.

‘Wishing you a wonderful new year of personal growth, self-exploration and putting yourself first – in the most loving, kind, and supportive way.


Circles of Gratitude,



Founder & Mentor of Women’s Wellness Circles

Lovely scenery seen through a circular tube

It’s not possible to know the ripple that will occur from a “Yes”.

How can we anticipate what will come when we take that first step? Truly we can’t.

It’s not until we walk the path that upon which we can reflect and see all that has occurred and rippled out, can we know the result. And even then, there are always more ripples yet to be seen!

Sometimes in life, saying ‘yes’ can be challenging for that very reason! It leads us to all the uncertainty and potential ‘what ifs…’  However, inevitably it is in the steps we take that we make progress. Truly, a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ determines where we go, and making decisions is how we grow.

When I first became a Women’s Wellness Circle host in 2015, I knew in my heart-of-hearts that it was exactly what I needed to do and where I needed to be. However, what I never could have seen then was just how far and wide Circle would end up carrying me.

I hosted my last in-person Oshawa Women’s Wellness Circle in March of 2020. My dear friend, Lorree, was presenting alongside me. We didn’t know it at the time, but we would move into our first lockdown just two days later.

Recently looking back at the theme and description of that Circle, I got shivers!

Here is what it said:

“We have heard that our life purpose is about the journey along the way, and all we receive from the experiences, not the destination. Our soul is here for adventure, it’s going to attract a wide variety of experiences we are meant to fully feel and move through along our path to awaken our consciousness. We are here to journey through life collectively and individually with all of our senses.”

In Circle that evening, we worked through and accepted the concept that we are here to experience life fully, and in our own unique way.  There is no need to compare, because it will look different for us all. That is more that OK; it’s the way!

Little did we know how important and powerful that gathering would be to assist in preparing us for what was about to come… a global crisis that affected everyone both similarly and in vastly different ways.

Once the world shifted, many of my Women’s Wellness Circle host sisters had a similar approach and continued to host their Circles online. They have been thriving with this approach since.

There are so many positives to shifting to online Circle and to not pausing until in-person could meet again.  One is a seamless continued connection.  As well, there can be an unlimited geographical reach for participants to join, and here is the ability to invite wonderful presenters from distant regions, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to share their wisdom.

Personally, I tried hosting Circle online; and even though there were many positives, it just didn’t work for me. So, I made a very challenging personal decision to put Circle on hold and wait and see.

While I honored my intuition, and my unique path; by saying YES to what I was feeling, there were still many ‘ifs’ around that decision, such as:

  • What if I lose my connection to the community?
  • What if I lose my connection to my sisters?
  • What if I lose touch with all the great teachers?

To give me a more well-rounded perspective, I took time to reflect and notice the ongoing ripples Circle had left in my life and the lives of the hundreds of women who had attended consistently over the previous five years.

We learned lesson after lesson about honoring ourselves, trusting in our ability to make decisions, and feeling through the fear so we could move forward with confidence and inner clarity. I was being called to implement and role-model this learning in my life, and as a Circle host as well.

Exactly one year after my last Circle in March 2020, I had the opportunity to move my business to “Souls Path,” a gorgeous 60-acre property in Blackstock, ON.

Being zoned as a recreational space, they had options which allowed for in-person Circle again! I was now able to recommence Circle in the way my heart knew was most aligned and true to me.

The added bonus was that many other likeminded holistic women are working here as well.  This has led to a new and expanded pool of teachers and talent to offer our attendees.  In addition, excellent local practitioners have also been coming to enjoy the space!

I’m so thankful I listened to my inner voice and trusted that the energy and ripples of all my Circle lessons would carry me forward, even when I chose to pause.  As a result, indeed they did.

I’ve been carried forward all the way to a new expansive, nature-filled space, a vibrant and conscious community, and an opportunity for me to return to Circle, in a Full Circle way.

To Trusting and Honouring Your Journey,


Amanda Perrone

Moon Mother, WWC Host Blackstock




I Am - photo of a blue heron bird

Did you know that anything you say after the word “I AM,” you become?

This is because words cast powerful spells. That’s why it’s called “spelling”.

I read this passage and reflected on where I find myself today.

It had me thinking of some of the words I have used in spelling my self-talk prior to the pandemic and how self-talk changed during it. This has led to a big shift.

To give context, fourteen months into the pandemic, I still had not been working at my regular job. This gave me a chance to reflect and come to the realization that there was more to my life than what I had been living.

This began a conscious inquiry, “What am I weaving into my reality?” “Is it in alignment with what I am wanting for my life?”

Although this wasn’t my original plan, in my late 40s, I found myself single, with no children, no job and no attachments. I realized that I was free to make changes and to do what I really wanted.

As a precocious child, I had a questioning mind. I was curious about how others chose to live their lives- and would often wonder “what if”.

This quality stayed with me, although it was dormant. However, during the pandemic I could feel a shift happening.  Suddenly I was asking important questions and noticed myself drawn to the idea of moving.  My mind was asking, “What if…?”

Living in Ontario, I had vacationed on the East Coast a few times in recent years and remembered the immense forests and the calm feeling of being by the ocean.  This inspired a longer-term plan to possibly retire down east.

However, as I started reading articles of young families looking for affordable living and others that were choosing this time to pick-up and make a move, I started to entertain the idea for myself.

Wanting a more simplified life, with less restriction and more ease, I was drawn to the open space and less congestion of the East Coast.

I realized that I had started spelling the words, “I am a dreamer” into my life.

This excitement led me to contacting my Human Resources department and asking if a transfer could be possible.

I also started talking to friends and family about this idea of moving eastward. These connections and conversations eventually led me to New Brunswick.

Taking a leap of faith, I sold my home, hired a moving company, and bought a house online sight unseen during a pandemic! During this process I kept noticing the easy energy around the whole process. This synergy helped guide me; the decisions felt right. More spelling appeared in my reality: “I am courageous.”

My connection to Women’s Wellness Circles came in the early months of the pandemic, following my lay-off from work. I had been looking at what was important to me, and how I could bring more of who I am out into the world.

Meeting Jill and taking the host training gave me an outlet to pursue something new in myself and to share it with the world. I enjoyed making connections with fellow hosts and started a Women’s Wellness Circle with a co-host in my hometown of Cambridge. It was simple and something positive to put my energy into. I have been so moved by the authentic women in this circle. This energy had me spelling more words into my reality, “I am inspired.”

As a yoga instructor, I’ve enjoyed bringing people together and sharing a sacred and communal experience in class. At my workplace as a manager, I’m a communicator and must make sure everyone’s needs are met and they are feeling included. More insights are being spelled…” I am a connecter.”

Last but not least, I noticed the Blue Heron as a reoccurring guide during this transition.  When we were initially looking for a space to host our first Circle in Cambridge, we made a connection with a holistic shop, The Purple Door, where I purchased a card deck of animal guides. This deck has a Blue Heron on the case cover. Where I’ve moved to in New Brunswick, the Hampton city signage has a blue heron with the slogan “It’s our nature”.  All summer in my new home, I would see blue herons flying overhead. It was intriguing to make this connection once I was living down East.  More spelling as I recognize that, “I am listening and receiving.”

When I look back, I can connect the dots of the thoughts, words and actions that brought me here to my new home in Hampton, New Brunswick. I’m getting my feet wet. I’m making connections, and I am looking forward to staring a Circle in the new year.

Spelling it out for myself…. “I am a woman, I am a wise woman, I am a yogi, I am a practicing Ayurveda Auntie, I am a Women’s Wellness Circle member and Host. I am a lifelong learner…”

Most importantly, I am living it all – the adventure of my life.  I AM HERE.

What are you spelling into your life?


Jennifer Bruder

Women’s Wellness Circle Host
Hampton, New Brunswick

Fall Onward

Here we are once again at what feels like the unofficial New Year – the beginning of the Fall season.

As the school year, work routines, and social activities recommence here in North America, a new cycle unfolds.

Along with it, the air turns fresh and crisp, the colours of nature light up our environment, and simultaneously we begin to stir inside.

Change is happening, and we can feel it.

Typically, this has been a time to make room for new ideas, projects, learnings, and activities. Much has changed in the world and in our personal lives over the past year and a half, so that it may not look like it usually does for many of us.

Thankfully, the rhythm of nature stays in a constant flow, and her cyclical container that envelops us, provides us all with gentle reminders and nudging guidance on where and how to place our energy.

Another place that provides me with inspiration and insight is in the Magnolia Magazine, to which I subscribe and I joyfully delve into each issue as soon as it arrives.

The fall edition was titled, “Forward Motion”, and one of the writings was so moving for me that I wish to share it with you.

Year after Year, Autumn Returns to the World in Her own Good Time

“She can sneak up subtly or arrive all of a sudden. Either way, she rides in on wild winds and under a harvest moon the colour of honey. She comes to dim the daylight and stretch out the night. She colours the trees and urges the songbirds southward. She has returned to set the natural world afire, to bring the sun low, to usher in the fall of a year – a time so very familiar to us and, yet, always anew. Wherever she goes, autumn lights up the senses and stirs up memories. She wields the power to enchant us all – in fact – to transport us back in time, back into ourselves. One way or another, the amber magic seeps into each and every one of us. And while the natural world softly fades into winter, autumn is busy changing us from within. She whispers gently, speaking silent incantations to both body and soul, reminders of just how far we have come and how far we still have to go.

Autumn reminds us to harvest the best from another year of life lived. Reminds us to savor these moments of transformation. Reminds us that all things must pass from gold to grey before they can come to life again. Reminds us there is no going back. Change is the only way forward, the only way onward. Don’t be afraid. You have been here before. You will come here again.

Come, she says, let us go together. Forever onward, hand in hand.”

There are so many wonderful journal promptings from this piece. I encourage you to sit with a notepad or journal and contemplate this entry. See what comes to mind for you, how it speaks to you, and what personal meaning you derive from it.

For me, it was a reminder that no matter how crazy the happenings of the world are right now, we can find comfort in the cycles of our life and feel embraced by how nature constantly moves forward with the familiar and the new.

Walking down the street, sitting in a nearby park, or simply looking out a window, the colours of autumn beckon us to drink in the panorama of this beautiful place we call home.

In our busy schedules, we can, if we choose, create time to slow down and take it in, before this, too, passes and cycles into winter.

The Women’s Wellness Circles have offered me the chance to tune into the seasons and to bring in presenters that offer a complementary gift to support the energy of topics, themes and current issues that are showing up in our lives.

Like nature, Circle is a constant and yet ever-changing energy exchange. It’s where every-day magic happens.

May this season bring you magic and an opportunity to acknowledge the road you have travelled to get here and a vision of what you want to create in the days and months ahead.

Let fall enchant you, transport you back into yourself and provide blessings of awareness and abundance for this harvest season.


Karen Armstrong

WWC Host, Newmarket/EG

Reiki Master, Biophoton Light Therapist & Enneagram Coach

Woman walking on boardwalk across field near mountains

“Follow Your Happiness!
It is calling to you!
.  .  .  leading you
to the place
where you will find
your greatest

-The Way of Love, by Joan Walsh Anglund


Every morning when it’s still dark outside and my day is just beginning, I sit with this powerful little book of poems, accompanied only by my thoughts and my favorite mug of delicious, hot fresh coffee. I am inspired for the day to come as each poem is perfect and gives me cause to pause, smile, re-read and think about life.

Reflecting back on 2005, at age 45, I was ready for change; and I made the big decision to re-locate from The Netherlands to a small town in Northern Ontario.

I was leaving all that was familiar:  family, friends, indeed life as I knew it.  I was packing a roller-coaster of memories to bring to the new world — memories full of courage and laughter, discovery and love, and hidden in the cracks were sadness and anger to round it out.  It was a veritable suitcase of ‘heartship’.

Finding happiness had been elusive up to that point, and I was on a quest to find it.

For many years I searched, but I wasn’t sure what real happiness looked like or how to create it. Despite some happy moments over the years, I could never seem to reach the blissful stage of full-on happiness.

Then, in 2010 I hit a wall. BAM! It took more courage and a newfound sense of discovery to leave my failing marriage, rise above my sorrows, and claim a life of “heartship” for happiness.

Then in 2012 I moved to Toronto. Things went well for a while.  I developed some great new friendships and established a kind community of women. However, after three years of trying to make it work, I still hadn’t found the sweet happiness most of us yearn for.

Depressed and detached from my creative abilities, my heart, and my deepest feelings, I was beginning to know and understand that I was the only one who could make the much-needed change and next step for myself.  So, in quiet moments, I would sit and reflect and reconsider my life yet again.

What makes me happy?

What is calling me?

And leading me to the place where I find greater good?

Out of the blue, in June 2018, a close friend answered my prayer. She invited me to visit her on Vancouver Island and stay for six months. Was it possible I was being given another chance at happiness?  Could I once again figure out a possible new life, one full of new happiness? Instantly my heart said YES!

Leading up to this next part of my life-changing journey, another friend of mine became a Channeler and began transmitting guidance and messages. She said I was being openly and divinely supported from The Universe with a future filled with transformational years ahead and with finding my happiness and peace.

I told myself: “Okay Saskia, as you are courageous and bold enough to trust what The Universe hands you, you might as well go for it”.

Life is interesting… if you dare to listen, choose, and act.

By the end of August, most of my belongings had wonderful new homes, and I started my drive from East to West on September 5, 2018 – taking only my most precious items that fit in my car and my dear friend, the channeler, in the passenger seat.

Thus began our trip of a lifetime.  Magic unfolded every day, and we found our happiness hidden in the energy of our shared courage, discovery, and “heartship”.

With much gratitude and a dose of happiness, I landed on Vancouver Island and the initial six months flew by… again in roller-coaster mode.

Inspired and ignited, I became a British Columbian shortly after.  I have manifested a wonderful living space surrounded by nature. I could see my happiness coming and feel my happiness starting to vibrate. I was choosing and creating more happiness as the weeks and months went by.

I dare say, it has led me to the greatest good so far.  In addition, I know there is more to come as I grow further in my happy place.

Following happiness is inspiring and life transforming.

Choosing happiness takes us on new journeys and discoveries.

Connecting with happiness allows us to meet wonderful like-minded people and communities.

Embracing Happiness is a CHOICE.

A choice that each one of us must make for ourselves, at any given moment. Connecting with like-minded and caring people is natural for most women and having a circle of women close by to support growth and inspiration, where happiness is encouraged, is a wonderful gift to have.

To further my happiness journey, I am looking forward to launching my Chapter of the Women’s Wellness Circles in Nanaimo, live and in-person, at an inspirational and spiritual location. A great recipe for HAPPINESS! Is it calling you, too?

Circles of Happiness,

Saskia de Quaasteniet

Women's faces and hands in a circle

Looking back, I realize what a special gift it had been to be able to guide my students through regular yoga practice. Each pose progressively prepared them to fall into a state of greater self-awareness and quiet stillness. Why? So that they could ease into a mindful state, completely devoid of judgment. This is not to mention other benefits like increased balance, strength, flexibility, and reduced stress.

However, March of 2020 put a stop to my privilege of serving others in this way. Government regulations told us to stay home. Yoga studios closed indefinitely; long-term residences locked their doors to outsiders; and schools shifted to online student instruction. These were all spaces in which I had taught yoga classes and guided mindfulness sessions.

When closures were announced, I knew I would no longer see my beloved students – my seniors, my pregnant moms, nor my families and kids. What I did not know was that it would last for over a year and a half. That is almost 550 days and 234 yoga classes.

It took me a few weeks of feeling sorry for both myself and my students as well. However, there were only so many days I could let myself sleep in, have ice cream for breakfast, and lose myself in an uninspiring and mind-numbing marathon of Netflix.

Enter:  Women’s Wellness Circle.

What a blessing it was to have been approached by a former yoga student of mine with the possibility of reconnecting with women in our community. The idea of co-creating a safe and inviting space that honours connection, nurtures self-expression, and ignites transformation was not only intriguing, but what I had longed for during the pandemic. I was craving it!

The fact that the Circles took place on ZOOM did not matter to me. In addition, it turned out that it did not matter to the women in our growing community either. Being together and seeing each other’s smile close-up was so needed after having been isolated for so long.

What did COVID teach me?

COVID taught me that we need social connection; it is essential to our humanness.

It has been proven to lower anxiety and depression and helps to improve self-esteem and empathy. When we neglect our need to connect, we neglect our health.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, research shows that loneliness was on the rise even prior to Covid. A lack of human connection can be more harmful to a person’s health than obesity, smoking, or high blood pressure.

COVID taught me that flexibility is more important than ever – even off our yoga mat. The past year-and-a-half has brought extraordinary change. We have all been forced to evolve quickly and creatively. Our virtual Circles are a clear testament to how resilient we are and to how important is our ability to be flexible in the face of uncertainty and adversity.

COVID taught me that gratitude is essential, especially when the world around us can be unpredictable and scary. Being grateful reminds us of how blessed we are, even in the face of challenges and stress. Ultimately, gratitude practices improve health, happiness, and the ability to build strong relationships – all things we benefit from in our Circles.

COVID taught me that impermanence does not only apply to difficult yoga poses. One of the biggest fears of the pandemic is not knowing. Although I do not know how long the pandemic will last, I do know that at some point it will end. Then we will enter our new “normal” with a re-awakened appreciation for every day.

All these learnings have helped me maintain a calm and generous spirit during uncertain times. These learnings are ultimately allowing me to support a more secure, socially conscious community. This kind of support is something that many women are doing by holding Women’s Wellness Circles in their own communities all across Canada.

I am hopeful that yoga classes will resume soon, and I’ll be able to see my fellow yogis in person again. However, what has carried me through the isolated, quiet times of lock-down have been the Women’s Wellness Circles.

Co-create with us and lean into its unfolding at our next Circle!

Circles of Gratitude,

Janessa Gazmen

Co-Host of WWC Markham

Women in a circle

Today, I went for a walk. I am travelling this week in Vancouver, searching for a place for my daughter to live as she attends the University of British Columbia in the fall.  So, this walk was not my ‘usual’!

I had a specific destination in mind as I set out.  However, as I started to walk, I found myself heading in a different direction.  Intrigued, I decided to just let my feet lead me.

I was fascinated as I walked, almost observing my movement as much as passing by the amazing sights!  It was like I was ‘looking down’ on myself while being in the experience at the same time. Have you ever had this sensation?

As I walked, I kept crossing under the big concrete overpasses. I marveled at the strength of their arches, the breadth of their span, and, curiously, in what I discovered underneath them…

Picture this:  a charming chandelier, hanging high, that must have been over 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide. How spectacular and odd!

A beautiful garden, carefully tended in a seemingly unfriendly and hidden concrete landscape. How amazing!

And a gathering of people.  Socially distanced.  Some wearing masks.  Some not.  Singing.

The sounds of their voices drew me forward to where they perched, standing on a gentle incline under the overpass.  The melody was sweet, and their voices gained strength as I approached.   The lilting notes washed over me; and I stood there, in reverence, soaking it all in.  What a blessing!

It has been a long time since I stood in the presence of song. In the presence of other people.  Gathered.  The strength of their collective energy was palpable.

What treasures to find under a highway overpass.

I noticed, too, that they were standing in a loosely formed circle, and it made me smile and think of our Women’s Wellness Circles.

Soon we will be able to gather in-person again. To share our strengths, like the grand sweeping concrete arches of the overpasses. To shine with one another like the crystals of that chandelier. To tend to one another so that we can flourish in whatever landscape life presents us. And to gather with our voices. Voices that share stories, knowledge, and challenges. Voices that have the power to lift us up.

I reflected on all of this for the rest of my walk. When I looked at a map later, I realized I had walked in a giant circle. Truthfully, it brought tears to my eyes.

Today, I invite you to consider letting your feet wander. See where they take you.

Be aware of the many treasures all around you and within you.

Even if you, too, find you walk in a circle, arriving back to the same starting point, you may also find you are not the same person you were when you started out.

To the Meaningful and Magical Circular Nature of our Lives.


To Your Sacred Journey,
Lauren Helmkay

WWC Host Georgina, ON


Do you wish you were braver or more powerful?  Have you ever felt scared, small, or invisible?  Have you ever been afraid to speak up?  Have you ever craved to be heard?

What if you could live your life from a place of power, compassion, and bravery and practice self-love all at the same time?  Would that appeal to you? But how can you do this?

It is easy…  We find a place where we can go to feel supported and safe and where we can share it all:  the good, the bad and the ugly. We share even when it is uncomfortable. We share our successes. We share our failures. We share our goals. We share our fears. We come together and open our minds and hearts to the power of Gathering in Circle.

There are so many transformative blessings that are gained from participating in a Women’s Wellness Circle. Here are three that top the list:

Sacred Time and Space

Our schedules are hectic!  Even in this pandemic-ridden world we are living in, where you may still be experiencing lockdowns or gathering restrictions, you may find yourself over-scheduled with countless Zoom meetings and phone calls. You may be juggling multiple roles as you navigate this new “working from home” scenario.

Finding that sliver of time that is just for you is perhaps even more important now, than ever.  Ensuring that you are getting some ‘me time’ and self-care on your calendar will provide you with countless benefits.

Joining a Women’s Wellness Circle is a safe and supportive vessel that will give you permission and a way to create this Sacred Time. It will provide you with a monthly ritual that is just for you and a time that you will look forward to so you can fill your well.

Create Everlasting Friendships

When you attend your Circle each month, you are telling yourself that this time is sacred and that this is an important part of your self-care. You are signalling to your inner Self that you are committed to your own growth. And there is more…

You are also helping to create a safe environment where your Circle Sisters can come to be heard. You are holding space for them, just as they do for you.

You will learn from each other. The topics will be thought-provoking, educational, and varied. Value will be taken from each one, based on what you need to hear and are ready to implement at that time.

By attending Circle on a regular basis, you are creating a powerful and supportive bond with your Circle Sisters and Circle community. This type of connection is foundational to your well- being and social nature. It is one of the key pillars to mental health and wellness.

Find Your Voice

One of the most beautiful results of being part of a Women’s Wellness Circle is that we are encouraged to find our voice and to speak our truths in safety within the support of the Circle space. Wellsprings of empowerment are uncovered when we find our true words and can freely express them.

Sometimes we need help with this. When we sit together and learn from one another, this provides just enough spark to allow us to find that bravery within ourselves to let our voices be heard.

Allowing the other Women of our Circle to hold the space for us to dip our toe into that bravery-pond just might be what we need! This may give us the jumping off point we need to share more freely and confidently outside of the safety and comfort of the Circle as well.

Does this sound inviting to you?  If so, here is what you can do to ensure that Circle is part of your personal growth journey going forward.

Next Steps

  • Take some time right now and have a good look at your schedule and what you have coming up over the next 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Notice if there is any time that is intentionally scheduled just for you, for your own interests and self-care. If so, great; and if not, why? This is important to assess.
  • If you do not have special sacred time scheduled just for you, or you would like to insert more, use your calendar, day timer, phone reminder, or whatever method of scheduling you use, and consider joining a Women’s Wellness Circle.
  • You can see if there is a host in your local community and join that group. If there is not a Circle in your area, then feel free to join one of the other locations. Since many are meeting up online, there are lots to choose from.
  • Schedule in your Sacred Time with pen and promise yourself that you will keep this time set aside just for you.

Most of all, enjoy being committed to yourself, your time, and your personal growth. It is your responsibility and opportunity to make this worthwhile investment, and the blessings are tremendous!


In the Spirit of Being in Circle,

Anne Caissie

We are basking in the energy of our Empower One event:  a celebratory gathering shared by our Women’s Wellness Circle hosts and attendees across Canada, in honour of International Women’s Day.

This 4th annual gathering took place online instead of in-person due to the C-19 restrictions. This worked out in our favour, however. Since the growth of new Circle locations across the country, online made it possible for everyone to attend regardless of distance.


The theme of the event was a live, virtual vacation! With our e-boarding passes in our hands, we ‘flew’ to the Caribbean, thanks to the creativity and networking connections of Tracy Tuberfield (an Ontario-based travel agent that had to pivot her business online during the pandemic). With her bamboo sun umbrella, tropical attire and pineapple cocktail, Tracy provided dedicated organizational skills and a fun vibe that transformed our stay-at-home orders into a unique and special adventure.

Our first destination was connecting with Karolin Troubetzkoy, the owner and director at Jade Mountain in Anse Chastanet in St. Lucia. Her resort is an exquisite paradise surrounded by incredibly lush nature, the Caribbean Sea, and a special view of the famous Pitons, which are volcanic plugs and spires that many tourists will hike. Plus, there was the bonus of a visit to the onsite ‘Chocolate Lab‘ where we learned about the harvesting of cocoa beans and watched chocolate delights being concocted right before our eyes.

Everyone was empowered by Karolin’s personal story of taking a leadership role in the Tourism and Hospitality industry – a position not held by many women in the past. Staying true to her course, she has acquired an extensive biography and is well-known locally and internationally. This was a reminder that we can do anything we put our minds to with perseverance and tenacity.


Next our trip flew us to South America where we had an up close and personal conversation with Life Coach, Marisa Ferrera, from her home office which is situated right next to a beautiful and breathtaking view of the Andes Mountains.

Marisa inspired us with her personal story. As a result, we were enlightened on the importance of healthy boundaries and how to magnify our magnificence to create a life of our dreams.

Having grown up in an abusive environment where she feared her father daily, she lost her ‘voice’ and self-esteem. Over time, Marisa realized it is about the choices we make and how important it is to be aware of our inner guidance. She decided at eighteen years old to step outside her comfort zone and face her fears. Learning to listen carefully to her heart and inner voice, she went on her way, breaking free from the abusive home environment and discovering that she had unlimited possibilities. Sharing some of the ups and downs of her journey, we were inspired by how she gradually manifested a life in alignment with her highest good and a healthy and supportive relationship. Marisa eventually left Canada to explore warmer parts of the world and ultimately re-located full-time to South America with her partner.


Next, we did a short excursion over to the island of Hawaii, thanks to an inspired pre-recorded video provided by Naomi Irons, who has a beautiful retreat and healing center located there. Her life journey took a dramatic turn several years prior, when she and her family followed their inner knowing and sold their bucolic acreage in Nova Scotia. They relocated to the island paradise of Hawaii, where her two beautiful children are life-schooled in deeply intuitive ways on the beaches and in the waves.


Finally, we completed the international adventure by landing back on Canadian soil in nature-filled Nanaimo, British Columbia. Saskia, who is originally from Holland and moved to Canada in her adult years, is also an inspiration to all who want the encouragement and role modelling of following their heart and dreams. She shared West Coast pictures and insights into her plans for the venue where she will soon launch a Women’s Wellness Circle in her community.


There were common themes and messages conveyed during this special event, such as:

  • Trust your intuition and inner guidance – They have so much wisdom to offer you.
  • Triggers are our teachers – Don’t ignore discomfort, tune in and learn from it.
  • Wounds creep up to the surface to be healed – Anything unresolved will linger until it’s addressed and look for ways to be healed.
  • Never say Never – You may be very surprised by what is possible when you listen to your heart and go for what you really want.

Based on the tremendously positive feedback from our participants, guest speakers, and WWC hosts, and the fact that after two and half hours of this amazing event many people continued to linger on Zoom to chat and share their enthusiasm and gratitude, we can all agree that Empower One was a huge success.


To Empowering All,

Debbie Armstrong

I am in a reflective space as I write this month’s blog on the countdown to our Empower One, International Women’s Day event.

Excitement is mounting as we embark on a completely new experience this year that is going to take us on an international adventure. Yes, you heard me correctly! We will be ‘traveling’ in real time, from Canada to the Caribbean, then to Colombia and more… without leaving the comfort of our own homes.

Normally this special annual event that is led by the Women’s Wellness Circle hosts, is held in person. Women attend from nearby communities and surrounding regions.

Last year our special Empower One event was held in downtown Toronto, just before the world ‘shut down’ due to the C-19 virus. We have an abundance of memories of this ‘magnified’ Circle experience:  laughing, sharing, dancing, and celebrating together in a three-dimensional space.

Never did we think that we would need to plan things quite differently and move our event online! Of course, with the rise in technology and online learning and work roles, it is not a surprise.  However, the idea that a year later we would still not be able to gather in person was initially quite frustrating and a letdown.

Based on the number of people complaining about ‘Zoom fatigue’ and the overuse of technology, we could easily have decided to skip this year’s event; but that did not feel right.

More than ever, with the stay-at-home orders, repetitive routines, and lack of variety and social stimulation, we need genuine opportunities to connect with one another, to do something novel and to have fun. So, what was the solution?

Thankfully, I had had the opportunity to attend an online ‘Virtual Vacation’ weeks prior to our creating the event, and it was an amazing experience that left a positive impression on me. This international excursion was created by Tracy Turberfield, an inspired local travel agent whose business was greatly impacted by the C-19 lockdown regulations. Courageously she chose to be adaptive and resilient, and pivoted her business focus online, innovating fun virtual travel offerings.

When I contacted her about incorporating an experience like this into our Empower One event, she jumped at the idea. We brainstormed and landed on tropical St. Lucia in the Caribbean as our first destination point.

This wonderful collaboration inspired me to investigate other international possibilities with wellness colleagues who live on other continents and in different time zones. Before I knew it, I had Colombia, South America, and Hawaii on the itinerary as well!

Plus, we would complete our international tour on Canadian soil looping back to the west coast of Canada on Vancouver Island to visit with Saskia de Quaasteniet who is our first Women’s Wellness Circle host to expand our reach nationally by offering these monthly gatherings outside the province of Ontario.

Plus, Tracy’s friend created a special clip of Steel Pan music dedicated to our Empower One participants, and we had singer and songwriter team Joan Marshall and Deidrey Francois who provided their latest singles titled, ‘Hey, That’s Life’ and ‘Luminosity’, which we danced to.

The cherry on top was a sweet video of my dear friend, Geraldine Bettini who is a nutritionist in the south of France, and her daughter.  They would lead us through making a healthy and creative sweet treat.

As you can tell, our event schedule is overflowing with fun, culture, and enjoyment from beginning to end!

So, while each of us will be at home on our own devices, we have the gift of being able to connect in real time to beautiful local and far-away places.

As a person who loves to travel, has been to many countries and cities worldwide, and has countless photos to show for it, the stay-at-home orders have been starting to catch up with me. I was longing to pack my suitcase and change my environment! Maybe you can relate?

At the heart of my motivation to do something different and to create a unique and memorable experience for our participants was also my own longing for this as well.

As well, each year a portion of the event proceeds goes to a local charity of choice. The first two years we donated to Girls Inc.  Last year we picked the Red Door Shelter. This year we are donating to a local woman who attended our Women’s Wellness Circles many years ago when they first began, and who is currently dealing with a tremendous health crisis.

There are so many good things that happen when people unite, and our monthly gatherings are an ongoing example of that. The bonus is that with a growing number of hosts across the country, we can team up to offer even more opportunities on a larger scale such as Empower One and really make a difference individually and collectively.

I have my virtual boarding pass ready – I cannot wait to set sail on this year’s online adventure!

Circles of Connection,

Jill Hewlett

Founder & Mentor of the Women’s Wellness Circle